New York State XC Season Guide - Girls 2018
The New York XC season ended memorably for team and individual competition with an expected result in an unexpected fashion, and a late surprising prize that was won with an unsurprising display of power. A Fayetteville-Manlius team entered 2017 with one of the highest preseason ratings ever, but it was pushed to the limit three months later at Nike XC Nationals for a 5-point win after food poisoning nearly cost the Hornets their 11th national title in 12 years. Six weeks later in mid January, Saratoga's Kelsey Chmiel headed off to Edinburgh in Scotland to put the last stamp on a dominating year for NY runners as she held off the best efforts of the top international runners at the World Junior XC championships.
There were of course many other highlights for the 2017 season, with a big chunk revolving around North Rockland's Katelyn Tuohy and her constant demolition of hallowed course records on the way to state and NXN National victories. Also at NXN, Chmiel in 2nd place, FM's Claire Walters in 5th for the champion Hornets, and that "mystery NY runner" Brooke Rauber of Tully in 6th were part of a powerful NY quartet finishing in the top 10, while at Foot Locker Nationals a week later, Shoreham-Wading River's Katherine Lee powered to 4th after winning a third Class B title a month earlier at States in her senior year.
Besides FM's 12th straight States victory to collect the Class A title, the action at the Wayne HS mud bowl included a second B title in three years for John Jay-Cross River and first titles for CBA-Syracuse for C and South Lewis for D. Elsewhere, Convent of the Sacred Heart won its first NYSAIS title in 23 years, Brooklyn Tech took its second PSAL title in three years, Notre Dame cruised to its fourth straight title in the NYC area, and Nardin Academy won its second straight championship for the Buffalo area CHSAA.
For the new NY XC season, some of last year's wave of greatness remains to create some giant ripples on the national scene, but we can also expect some major changes. Perhaps the biggest wrinkle is that with the graduation of four runners from its 2017 national champion squad, FM is not the favorite for another NXN title or even ranked among the top 6 US teams even though the Hornets remain number 1 in NY. That top 4 NY quartet of NXN finishers are all back though, and we won't even begin to try to speculate what Touhy, Chmiel, Walters, and Rauber have up their sleeves and in their spikes for this year.
FM enters as a narrow favorite over Saratoga and North Rockland in Class A, but John Jay-Cross River is sitting very pretty at season's start in B. 2017's C and D champs will have their hands full as CBA-Syracuse has been sent up to B and South Lewis has lost a key runner with the graduation of Hali Ielfield. Notre Dame and Nardin are again favorites to extend their streaks in the two halves of the CHSAA, and Brooklyn Tech again sits atop the PSAL while waiting to see if Benjamin Cardozo can fill out its squad. The only thing known for sure about the NYSAIS is that it will again be a complete surprise.
Among the biggest changes for 2018 are the alterations to the classification sizes due probably to shrinking enrollments. Last year only 67 schools were able to field full teams for Class D at sectionals as opposed to 106 for Class A, and that number will decrease for D this year as the upper BEDS limit moves from 260 to 239 and nine schools that competed at D sectionals in 2017 now move to C, including three sectional champs. 2015 and 2016 Class D champ Greenwich is one of the transfers and is the favorite in Class C. Other major moves include the drop from Class A to B for Manhassat and Kings Parks, where they are expected to be in the hunt in sections 8 and 11 respectively. Finally, Section 7's years of having a Class B representative are over with the dropping down to C for Peru and Beekmantown.
The courses at major events this year will all have their scary places, as the States meet's Sunken Meadows includes the feared Snake and Cardiac hills, Van Cortlandt Park has that Cemetery Hill that the runners are always slinking by on the various courses at VCP, Bowdoin has Mt. Doom to broil everyone in September or send them careening crazily in November, and if you want a near-death experience there is no better place to find it than at the finish line for the McQuaid meet at Genesee Valley Park.
I'll give Fonda-Fultonville the honor of kicking off the season on September 1 since I can't wrap my head around how to deal with an ekiden meet (at Niskayuna) for state rankings. And maybe after a visit to the world triathlon championship during the season (Hackley's Olivia Curran in 2017), it will all end at World Juniors again in January.
Cheers to another fabulous season like no other.
Tuohy led out the pack at the Federation meet in 2017 with 2nd-place
finisher Kelsey Chmiel (184) and 3rd-place runner Mary Henelly (7)
|Top NY Teams for 2018|
|Using the TR speed ratings for returning runners from last year without any adjustments for great track results, here's the list of how the top 10 NY teams stack up.|